Peter Gordon observed the other day that "politicians are better at creating problems than addressing them. Schools, housing, health care, transportation and others suffer from too much political attention."
As a result of ethanol subsidies and mandates, the dollar value of what we ourselves throw away in order to produce fuel in this fashion could be 50% greater than the value of the fuel itself. In other words, we could have more food for the Haitians, more fuel for us, and still have something left over for your other favorite cause, if we were simply to use our existing resources more wisely.
We have adopted this policy not because we want to drive our cars, but because our elected officials perceive a greater reward from generating a windfall for American farmers.
But the food price increases are now biting ordinary Americans as well. That could make those political calculations change, and may present be an opportunity for a nimble politician to demonstrate a bit of real leadership. I notice, for example, that although Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) was among those who voted in favor of the monstrous 2005 Energy Bill that began these mandates, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and John McCain (R-AZ) were among the 26 senators who bravely voted against it.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if one of them actually tried to make this a campaign issue?
Sigh. Read the entire post.